"The Cleaner", by Mark Dawson

The Cleaner - Mark  Dawson

Book 1, in the John Milton series

Although this is numbered as the first in the series it is actually the second book, ” 1000 Yards”, a novella is the prequel, a short story that introduces us to the protagonist. There is no need to get to it first “The Cleaner” stand on its own but I have been told reading the prequel does help to get an idea what John is made of before the main story kicks in. I admit not having read it but it is on my TBR list and I should get to it pronto.

At first I had mixed feeling about this mystery. It started pretty slowly but eventually moved along at a better pace and I eventually got hooked and stayed with it till the end. The story is of an assassin working for a shady government organisation run by a man known simply as Control. In “The Cleaner” John is struck by a fit of conscience, quits the Firm and starts a new life by helping a woman and her son Elijah. The story is a bit dated: set during the London riots we see all through the saga our protagonist facing street gangs, drug lords and the most exciting part in this adventure is the cinematic confrontation between John and a former colleague but it does come with predictability you see this coming from the start. The experience is a bit cliched and has a déjà vu feeling about it but this is easily overcome. The dialogue sounded authentic but may be hard to follow at times for those who are not familiar with English slang and street lingo. Overall, the language is clean, the plotting is good and since we have very few players this is one mystery/thriller easy to follow.

In all a good read